Palestinians say Israel is costing them $4bn a year

The report argues that restrictions on access to natural resources have shrunk the economy of the West Bank and Gaza to little more than half of what it could be

Ramallah

Palestinian leaders yesterday charged that Israel’s occupation is costing their economy at least £4.35bn which could otherwise be used to ensure a healthy fiscal surplus and end their chronic dependence on foreign aid.

A detailed 35-page report published by the Palestinian Authority (PA) argues that a series of non-security related restrictions on access to natural resources, including water, Dead Sea minerals and farmland, have shrunk the economy of the West Bank and Gaza to little more than half of what it could be.

Contrary to previous criticisms that the 43-year-old occupation damages Israel's economy because of the huge military costs of maintaining it, the report argues that Israel has gone out of its way to exploit Palestinian resources for its own benefit while imposing constraints designed "to prevent any Palestinian competition with Israeli economic interests".

Hasan Abu Libdeh, the PA's national economy minister, said yesterday: "This is the cheapest occupation in the world."

Mr Abu Libdeh said the price tag of the occupation was one of the reasons why its leadership had decided to pursue its bid for recognition at the UN.

"It should be clear to the international community that one reason for Israel's refusal to act in good faith as a partner for peace is the profits it makes as an occupying power," he said.

The report, compiled by Mr Abu Libdeh's department and the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem, with the help of consultants funded by the UN, found that Israel uses 10 times as much of the water from West Bank aquifers as the Palestinians.

Mr Abu Libdeh said that while 620,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, cultivated 16,000 acres of irrigated agricultural land, four million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank cultivated 25,000 acres. The report argues that charges for water and electricity are up to 50 per cent higher for Palestinians.

Among a comprehensive list of other examples, the report says that Israel maintains control of West Bank mining and quarrying – an industry with a potential value of $900m a year. Exploitation of minerals and salts from occupied territory along the Dead Sea, meanwhile, is estimated to be worth about $150m.

Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics manufacturer using Dead Sea products, is an internationally-known brand. The report also says it is losing $143m in Dead Sea tourism.

While the report accepts that a smaller part of the lost economic activity is justified by Israel on – often highly disputed – security grounds, it estimates that the bulk of around $4.5m – or 56 per cent of the Palestinians' actual GDP – is lost to Palestinians simply through lost revenue or higher raw material costs because they are prevented from accessing their own resources.

The report argues that its cost estimates are conservative because they concentrate on accessible data. For example, it does not take into account losses from tourism to Bethlehem or East Jerusalem, or from the long-standing security prohibition on imports of potentially "dual use" lathe machines, which it says has "probably stifled the development of the whole Palestinian manufacturing sector".

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Ricky Gervais performs stand-up
people
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Automation Test Lead (C#, Selenium, SQL, XML, Web-Services)

£50000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Automation Tes...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering